Colors Create Chaos—and Conversions

Colors Create Chaos—and Conversions

I know I’ve been writing a lot about color lately, but that’s because your color scheme is one of the most important design elements when it comes to branding and your website. As I previously mentioned, you typically want colors to work together on your site to be visually appealing. You want to create an environment of professionalism and coherence. Today I’m going to tell you when it’s okay to incorporate chaos into your color scheme. 

Herding conversions

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I’m sure at this point you know the value of having one primary goal (macroconversion) for your site. For us, it’s that we want people to contact us. For others, your macroconversions may be something else entirely, like making a purchase, viewing your portfolio, or reading your philosophy page. Whatever action you want your visitors to take, getting them to actually do that can be like herding cats.

Hedwig’s breakthrough

In 1933, a psychiatrist and children’s pediatrician named Hedwig von Restorff reported his research on what he called “the isolation effect.” His research indicates an item that “stands out like a sore thumb” is more likely to be remembered than other items. Since his findings, many publications have been dedicated to this phenomenon, from the retrieval processes to the sequence retention. Others have analyzed whether certain colors are more likely to be remembered. But they all draw the same conclusions as Hedwig: we’re more likely to remember things that are out of the ordinary.

Purposeful contrast

Colors that stand out from your theme, that aren’t harmonious and expected, are more likely to catch a visitor’s attention. Chaotic colors catch your eye and force you to see what’s being highlighted. In this classic example below, see how your eye is drawn to the red button not because red is always attention grabbing but because it contrasts well with the blue background. This makes driving people to convert a lot easier, because it's a built-in design element.

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Remember moderation

Remember if everything is important, nothing is. That’s why it’s vital to pick one conversion for your site and stick with it. Your overall goal is still to maintain your validity, and going overboard on the chaos effect will ruin your good efforts. 

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About the author

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I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here:

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